GTP20: Three ways to maintain team engagement remotely


This blog post has been produced for the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce as part of the 2020 Growth Through People campaign.

Growth Through People is the Chamber’s annual campaign aiming to help local firms boost productivity and grow through improved leadership and people management skills. In 2020 this involves 8 free workshops taking place between 2nd March and 27th March, culminating in a full-day Growth Through People conference on 2nd April. In addition, throughout the campaign the Chambers will be publishing thought leadership podcasts, videos and blog content such as this.

Thanks to our Headline Sponsors – Prime Accountants Group, Aston University, Curium Solutions and CIPD - all workshops are free to attend. Interested readers can find out more and register to attend Growth Through People workshops here, and the Growth Through People conference here.

Ensuring everyone is driving towards the same goals can be simple, providing some fundamental principles that are followed.

Rule 1. Keep it simple

I work with a team of over 150 staff spread across the U.K and the Netherlands. The group boasts a whole range of skills and attributes such as designers, project managers, developers, sales and so on.

With this in mind, I ensure all correspondence is delivered in a universal and simple language that is easy to follow. For example, if you are a developer, don't share that great piece of news of a new phase completion of an app via complex abbreviations or techy words as such when sharing it with the overall group. Instead, keep the language exciting and simple.

Rule 2. Knowing what resources and when to use it

E-mails for complex correspondence, WhatsApp for general overviews and engaging conversation, Skype when you can't meet face to face and don't forget to PICK THE PHONE UP!

Don't use WhatsApp to communicate a complex piece of information instead use E-mail and avoid pointlessly going back and forth.

If I had a penny for every time key information is lost because it's been discussed on WhatsApp I would... You get the point.

Rule 3. Accountability and reporting

We are blessed to be working in such a connected society and workplace these days and there are some truly amazing tools available that make reporting blissfully simple. Project management tools, the simple spreadsheet, E-mails, CRM systems and so on. Use them.

They are worth their weight in gold. Everyone involved also needs access to these sources of information. As a project is being undertaken a fully briefed project with E-mail trails communicated via a CRM, Project management tool and ongoing correspondence is vital as this ensures everyone is "on the same page" As an example of how important this is I previously worked as a financial advisor. We had a very impressive customer portal and CRM system.

A colleague on his final day before his well-deserved break decided to store his client information in his head or written on bits of paper and thrown into a folder. Step forward me on the following week to finalize the deals.

No information on our customer portal and no trace of conversations with the client. A combined 4 hours of digging around and attempting to contact our holidaymaker and we finally find scribblings on an A4 piece of paper. Imagine if a proper handover via E-mail with a fully updated CRM and customer management tool was done. 4 hours of extra productivity can be huge! 

So, remember- keep it simple, know your resources and report, report, report!

Matt Barnsley
Chief Marketing Officer